Informal ministerial conference of the 4Forets group
Yesterday, Minister Irena Šinko attended, via video conference, the informal ministerial conference of the 4Forests group. Ministers discussed forestry topics common to the four highly forested countries – Slovenia, Finland, Sweden and Austria.
These countries all support sustainable forest management, have high forest cover, stress the importance of timber production and forestry-wood chains and face the challenges of climate change (bark beetles, natural disasters, drought, etc.) that already threaten forests and will continue to do so in the future.
Even though management practices differ across the countries, Slovenia joined the group to seek solutions for the myriad of challenges in the field of forests and forestry and to undertake joint activities in the future.
At the meeting, Minister Irena Šinko expressed support for the informal cooperation as part of the 4Forests group. She stressed: "The Republic of Slovenia supports the efforts of the EU in the fight against illegal logging and associated trade, and in the fight against deforestation and forest degradation at the global level. However, we also stress the importance of preserving and developing rural areas, enhancing forestry-wood chains, enhancing the economic initiative for the green transition, and cooperation between all stakeholders, in particular forest owners. It is also necessary to take into account national characteristics and specifics, which definitely include forest cover and the national forest management system. As much as 60% of Slovenia's territory is covered with forests, which makes Slovenia the third most forested country in the EU. It is also necessary to stress the competence of member states in forestry policy. In Slovenia, this policy is defined in regulations on forests and the National Forest Programme. This is why, in Slovenia, we manage our forests in a sustainable, multifunctional and close-to-nature manner."
Ministers also discussed forest monitoring and restoration. They agreed to coordinate guidelines for future activities of the 4Forests informal group at the technical level.
They also agreed to organise a ministerial conference on forests and forestry.